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If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked my thoughts on juicing (or juicing vs. blending), I would be rich! With juice cleanses popping up on every corner of the web and celebrities endorsing this juicery or that one, it’s no wonder that juicing has taken over the health scene by storm.
So I thought I’d give you my juicy thoughts on The Great Juice Discussion. The simple version? I love juicing, with a few buts.
Now for some details…
Why I Love Juicing
The alkalinizing power of fresh organic vegetable juice goes straight to our cells and reduces acidic burden, leading to cleaner organs and tissues, reduced cravings, and a stronger immune system. Daily stress, a diet high in refined carbohydrates and low quality oils, excessive exercise, and processed foods cause our bodies to be acidic. Juicing helps to bring our pH to a more alkaline state, therefore combating growth of cancer cells (which thrive in an acidic environment).
Juicing concentrates the potent phytonutrients in plant foods into a simple drink that is highly effective at detoxifying the liver, especially when you include ingredients like dark leafy greens, lemons, and ginger.
Juicing dark leafy greens gives you a huge boost of chlorophyll in one glass! Chlorophyll is incredibly oxygenating, meaning that it delivers oxygen swiftly and effectively to our cells. Oxygenated cells are strong, healthy cells! Chlorophyll is also a wonderful blood cleansing phytonutrient.
Vitamin C—critical to beautiful skin, hair, and other tissues—is most prevalent in fresh produce. It’s also a potent liver cleanser and plays a role in collagen formation.
What NOT to Do
There’s no doubt about it—I love juicing! That said, there are definitely some things I do NOT do:
- Don’t use juice as a meal replacement. Fresh juice is meant to be a booster, not a replacer. As healthy and nutrient-packed as it is, we still need food including protein, carbs, and fat! I view juice almost like a supplement. It’s a fabulous addition to an already healthy diet.
- Don’t juice mostly fruits. Fruit juice, albeit natural, is quite high in sugar. Fresh juice made mostly from fruit will spike your blood sugar up to the ceiling, which is the last thing we want. Vegetables don’t raise blood sugar levels nearly as much as fruit (if at all), so make them the base of your juices. (See my favorite blends below.)
- Don’t use juicing as a replacement for eating vegetables. Eating your vegetables is still of PRIME importance! Juicing is a great “bonus” but it’s not the same as eating the entire plant, which includes the fiber and other minerals, vitamins, and plant compounds that are so nourishing for us. Don’t use juicing as an excuse to skip out on eating your veg.
- Don’t use the same ingredients all the time. It’s important to vary your juices now and then to tap into a wide range of nutrients. For example, if you usually use kale in your green juice, change it up now and then with spinach or collards instead.
To Cleanse or Not to Cleanse
I know people who do 5-7 day juice cleanses regularly, usually because they feel they have “fallen off the wagon” when it comes to healthy eating and need to get back on track. Personally, I’ve never juiced exclusively for longer than a day. I think it’s great to give your body a break every now and then with a brief fast or modified fast through juicing, but I don’t believe it’s necessary to cleanse every time you’ve had a few “bad” weeks of eating. Your body is designed to detoxify on a daily basis if you supply it with the right nutrients. Eat a healthy and balanced diet rich in fresh produce, avoid refined foods and sugar, focus on real foods straight from nature—and you won’t have a whole lot of junk to cleanse out to begin with!
I personally think that most organic juice cleanse programs on the market are way too high in sugar to be very effective. Sweet drink after sweet drink for a week will likely do nothing to combat sugar cravings—it may even increase them once you ease back into solid food again. Just my two cents.
I would rather incorporate fresh juice into my diet along with health-supportive meals and snacks than do a nothing-but-juice cleanse for days at a time. For the purposes of general health and well-being, it just makes more sense to me.
Juicing is wonderful, but don’t starve yourself by trying to live on it! That’s no way to cleanse and will only confuse and deprive your body.
For a while I used a very cheap juicer that I picked up at Target, which worked to get me started. I now use a Breville Juice Fountain Elite. It’s wonderful! Other than the cheap one, I’ve never used a different type of juicer so I can’t say that this one is the best, but for all practical intents and purposes, I love it. It’s not too loud (the cheap one sounded like a jet taking flight…), is fairly easy to clean, and yields juice that tastes smooth and fresh. For a less expensive option, I’ve also heard good things about the Breville Juice Fountain Plus.
(I’m not affiliated with Breville, by the way. Just sharing my honest opinion!)
My Favorite Blends
Most of the time, like I said before, I use mostly fresh organic vegetables for my juices. If I add fruit, it’s usually a small amount to balance out the flavors. Once in a while I do add more fruit for fun to change things up and treat myself.
Here are a few of my favorite combinations with the ingredients lists in order of greatest quantity to least quantity.
- Cucumber, celery, kale, green apple, lemon, ginger
- Cucumber, carrot, celery, ginger—with cayenne pepper whisked in afterwards!
- Celery, romaine, kale or collards, beet, lemon
- Carrot, kale, apple, parsley, ginger
- And if I’m feeling really hard core: Cucumber, celery, kale, romaine, lemon, garlic
Juicing? Yay or nay? I’d love to get your thoughts! Leave a comment below.